A list of questions that you should ask a car accident lawyer before deciding whether to hire him/her for your case.
Do I Have a Case?
This is the first question you should ask. To recover damages from an accident, you have to prove that the other person breached a duty to you by not acting with a reasonable degree of care when he or she caused the accident. You also have to prove that you actually suffered damages and that those damages/injuries were caused by the accident. If you can't meet your burden of proof, it is unlikely you will win your case.
How Much Do You Charge and What is a Contingency Fee?
This is usually one of the most important questions for most car accident victims, as you may want to sue, but may be afraid of being faced with large legal bills if you don't win. Most car accident attorneys will work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if you win. Contingent fee lawyers charge a percentage - in Florida it is 33 1/3 % if the case settles before suit is filed and 40%, if suit has to be filed. This allows people to obtain representation even if they cannot afford the retainer fee and hourly fee that a lawyer would normally charge.
What Court Fees and Costs Will I Be Responsible For?
Even if a lawyer charges on a contingent fee basis, you may be responsible for court costs and fees and other costs the lawyer incurs in investigating and bringing the lawsuit. Our firm does not charge you fees or costs, unless we recover a settlement or verdict for you.
How Long Do I Have to File My Lawsuit?
There is a statute of limitations - or a maximum time limit - that you have in most jurisdictions if you want to file a lawsuit. It is important to know what this deadline is, so you can make sure you file your lawsuit before the deadline passes. In Florida, you have four (4) years to file a negligence lawsuit. You have five (5) years to file a claim against your own insurance company for breach of contract. But, if you were injured by someone working for a governmental agency - for example, you are hit by a police car - there are shorter time limits that need to be discussed with your lawyer.
What Are My Potential Damages?
You may be able to recover not only for medical bills and lost wages, but also for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or other types of damages you suffered. Your lawyer should be able to fully explain to you the extent of your recovery options.
What Is My Case Worth?
Ask this question. Your lawyer will have some idea. It is true that it can be a broad range based upon discovery, liability and unknown medical issues. At the very least, your lawyer should be able to provide a spectrum and explain the unknowns to you. Use your own judgment. Do not be fooled by lawyers who make promises that seem unrealistic.
How Long Do You Think My Case Will Take?
It may take a long time for a case to go to trial and an even longer time for you to get your money. It is important to be aware of this, so you can make plans for how to handle medical bills in the meantime. If you need money immediately, settling may be your best option; alternatively, there are companies who will lend you money on the basis of an expected settlement or lawsuit victory that you can consider working with if you are committed to going to court.
Have You Tried These Types of Personal Injury Cases Before?
Lawyers are hungry to get personal injury lawsuits. There is immense competition and some firms spend millions of dollars on advertising. Do not assume, just based upon advertising, that the lawyer has handled or tried your type of case. Ask for your lawyer's experience and results. You need to control the consultation. Do not be intimidated or bullied by the lawyer. You are the one hiring, remember that. And ask to speak to the lawyer, not just a paralegal.
Will you be the actual attorney handling my case?
Another great question. Be careful about the meet and greet, and then never seeing that lawyer again. Find out specifically who will be handling your case? Who will be your contact? Who will you be speaking to on the telephone? etc. Be careful about meeting the persons in charge, only to later realize that an associate will be handling your case.
Do You Have The Time Necessary To Actually Work On My Case Now?
Be very careful about going to the name everyone else knows. Lawyers love to get clients signed up and then sit on the cases, while they sign up additional new cases. This is certainly not all lawyers, but it happens all too often. Lawyers will sign up a client and then wait 12-18 months to file suit. That delay is harming you. It is delaying money that you may be entitled to. Ask the lawyer if he will have the full time necessary to devote to your case? Will the lawyer be available to answer your questions and meet with you in person to discuss your case? You have that right!!
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on
their profile in addition to the information we collect from state
bar associations and other organizations that license legal
professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo
with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do
What determines Avvo Rating?
Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, education
Legal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Legal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagements
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in .
Disciplinary information may not be comprehensive, or updated. We recommend that you always check a lawyer's disciplinary status with their respective state bar association before hiring them.